The third day of the Frankie 95 Birthday Festival was jam-packed with classes and panel discussions all-day and dancing and performances all night. The highlight of the evening was a blow-out big band concert not seen in modern times, with three swingin' big band orchestras performing in the Hammerstein Ballroom: the Frank Foster Loud Minority Band, the Harlem Rennaissance Orchestra and the George Gee Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra. They closed out the evening dance with all three bands — 60+ musicians — all up on stage performing the swing jam to end all swing jams.
More after the jump…
The evening all featured the finals of the Hellzapoppin' dance competition, pitting against each other some of the best lindy hoppers in the world.
And we had several stellar group performances including the Harlem Hotshots of Sweden, the Ninjammers, and the Silver Shadows. I got misty-eyed seeing the Silver Shadows do several signature Frankie Manning moves during the beginning of their routine that you see here. And then they just tore it up "Day at the Races" style!
Lots of compliments from folks about how well organized and amazing the Festival is, which is great to hear. The best though was from one of the security people from the Manhattan Center, where the evening events are taking place. As I was onstage filming the footage you see above, one of the stern looking security guys called me over. The Hellzapoppin final heat had just finished.
The guard said to me, "Excuse me sir, but is any of this going to be on Youtube?"
I replied, "Oh yeah. See all those camera guys? We're making a full DVD of the whole weekend!"
"Wow, I need to get that. I've never seen anything like this before!" he said, shaking his head in amazement.
High praise, indeed.
I'm super excited about the all-star Frankie Manning Tribute Show tonight at 7pm!
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